Mooching around Montego Bay

Anyplace that has a song written about it must be worth a visit, and Jamaica’s Montego Bay is worthy of both the Bobby Bloom 1970 song and a long stay there.

Montego Bay is already well renowned for its beaches, its beach bars, gourmet restaurants and the nightlife on its ‘Hip Strip’. So you couldn’t really call it a hidden gem. Nature lovers, scuba diving and snorkelling fanatics also know Montego Bay is home to Jamaica’s first national park, The Montego Bay Marine Park, which is famous for its wall dives and home to several dive sites. The Marine Parks main attractions are a wealth of sponges in a myriad of rainbow of colours, magnificent schools of tropical fish and spectacular coral reefs. Added to this, if you are a scuba diver or even just a snorkeler you can still experience a large number of underwater treats such as old wrecks, sheer sea walls, reefs, tunnels, and unique underwater sea creatures.

Located on the north coast of Jamaica, Montego Bay Marine Park encompasses all of Montego Bay’s seafront.  The Park is considered special because it contains three major ecosystems, seagrass bed, mangroves and coral reefs. The eastern boundary of the park is Tropical Beach (adjacent to the Sangster International Airport). The western boundary is Rum Bottle Bay, a small point close to the Great River. Its diverse environment includes mangrove forests and islands, white sand beaches, river estuaries, seagrass beds and corals, not to mention all the wildlife that dwell therein. Non-motorized water sports such as diving, snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours are permitted and experienced dive teams are available to guide you through your underwater adventure.

The resource centre and the Park’s headquarters are located at Pier One Marina in Montego Bay. Here you’ll find a research centre, reference material, slide shows and books about this ecological oasis. A help desk is also on premises, offering more information about tours. Head to the waterfront to find glass bottomed boat tours. The Park itself is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the marine ecology, which includes fish and coral assessments, beach erosion monitoring, water quality testing, and rescuing injured marine animals.  

Even if you are not a licensed PADI diver, you can still don a face mask, snorkel and flippers and have the time of your life just floating face down in the pristine waters of Montego Bay. Given that most of the interesting marine life is in water shallower than 5 metres you are still going to see enough to keep you fully focussed on all the undersea wonders. There is great snorkelling in areas like Airport North & White House, Buccaneer Beach, Doctor’s Cave Beach, Seawinds Peninsula and Unity Hall.

And if you are a little nervous about taking to the seas, there is help at hand – you can be guided by operators with much experience and good safety records. Montego Bay supports several large and small snorkel boat operators, from small glass bottom boats which cater for a few, to large passenger catamarans and semi-submarines. The type of experience that you’d like to have is there for you to choose.

2 comments to Mooching around Montego Bay

  • If you happened to treat yourself to a Montego Bay vacation, you would agree that this city has everything to offer, Jamaica’s second-largest city and the tourism Mecca of the Caribbean has it all. Montego Bay vacations are known to be of high quality as this little quaint city which is situated on Jamaica’s north coast has been at the helm of tourism for almost a hundred years. Montego Bay has a beautiful terrain, the turquoise coast is outstretched and the landscape gently rises up into green hills in the background.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Grumpy Collins and JaCulturalEnterprise, Steve Grumpy Collins. Steve Grumpy Collins said: Wonderful #diving at Montego Bay Marine Park #Jamaica http://ow.ly/3kWIf #travel #tourism #Caribbean […]

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